VALE – JAY CURLEY (Tumbleweed)



There are a lot of things I could say about the importance of Jay Curley and the music he made with TUMBLEWEED but I think other humans will say it better. I’d like to keep this tribute simple by quoting something I wrote about TUMBLEWEED’s 2013 release “Sounds From The Otherside” which goes like this:

“It’s no secret to those who know me that Tumbleweed is a pretty big deal for me. They are a band I’ve worshiped for the past 18 years of my life and courtesy of my brother I was given a copy of “Galactaphonic” on cassette tape for Christmas back in 1995. The music of Tumbleweed changed me and shaped a big part of my musical identity. In 1995 I had no perception of what “stoner rock” was and at that point I don’t even think that genre itself was a term that people used. Perhaps it was, fuck, I was only twelve years old at the time. All of that aside, one thing that I knew that I loved about Tumbleweed was how fucking heavy it all was.

With Tumbleweed, there were always riffs galore that were wonderfully pushed along by the swagger of the bands rhythm section giving the music an incredible amount of groove. With all of this heaviness you’d expect that most humans would apply angst and attack vocally but Tumbleweed were blessed with having Richie Lewis as their singer. The wonderful part about Richie’s voice is that he brought a melodic approach that mirrored the Beatles more than it did Black Flag or anything punk rock. There was a degree of intense escapism through his lyrics and whilst there was pain and heavy emotion flowing in and out of the songs they had a wonderful narrative with sprinklings of fantasy scattered all throughout the lyrics.

All of these dynamics helped set them apart and really made them pioneers of a sound that so many celebrity hungry young 21st Century Humans try to replicate.  When Tumbleweed released their last official album “Mumbo Jumbo” in the year 2000 it felt like the band was coming to a bittersweet end. Since 1995 the band had gone through multiple line-up changes with only Richie and Lenny being the only real original members left by the time the band called it quits in 2003.

For a very long time I thought that “Mumbo Jumbo” represented the natural evolution of where Tumbleweed had to go as a band. After sitting through “Sounds From The Other Side” it has become quite clear that this is not the case because the music made by Tumbleweed circa 2013 is more intense, heavier, and weirder and covered in a hell of a lot more psyche and prog dynamics than Tumbleweed circa 2000. What “Sounds From The Other Side” represents is the natural evolution of the Tumbleweed sound circa 1995. Much like the re-united Dinosaur Jr whilst the band leans on the spirit of their formative years (1990 to 1995) the creative growth the band illustrated post Galactaphonic (Return To Earth and Mumbo Jumbo) is still on full display even though only three of the five members were present during this era.

Career Logistics aside, the main point to focus on is that this is not about Nostalgia and it is the first new steps of a new path for Tumbleweed. There were always going to be similarities stylistically to the bands older material but like Soundgarden did with King Animal, there is also a new mood for a new decade of progression. The importance of “Sounds From The Other Side” is in the fact that it re-establishes the band right back where it belongs, making incredibly vital alternative rock n roll.

As a fan of Tumbleweed I get chills every time I press play on this record. I am literally flawed with how brilliant the album is and I feel blessed to have Lenny, Jay, Steve, Paul and Richie back together making noise once again. When I first heard Tumbleweed, the term Stoner Rock was not something that existed in my vocabulary, but as the years progressed I started to understand that the love I started to have for “that sound” all started 18 years ago with Galactaphonic. In 2013 I feel like I’m a bit of a Stoner Rock fiend even though I hate the genre term myself but I guess I just love “that sound” which it’s attached to. To hear one of the pioneering bands of that sound making something so vital and so progressive in this current climate of mediocrity is so fucking refreshing.

I am in love with this album and I’m still discovering it which thrills me even more. There is longevity to this album and I feel like it will take me months to fully find all of the wonderful little nuances of each and every track. I may be a fan of lot of different genres of music but nothing gets me off like a really great rock record and “Sounds From The Other Side” is a fantastic and totally exquisite piece of rock n roll.

I can’t wait for the next ten years of Tumbleweed history, thank fuck they are back.

May they live for a billion years”

I always thought the band were invincible and to me they were like superheroes who I fucking idolised beyond belief. It always sucks when someone you admire who had a part in shaping your understanding of yourself passes away. Considering I never personally met Jay Curley I felt I learnt a lot about him purely through the music he made.

So for now, all I can say to Jay Curley is “thank you” for all the music you were part of making and for being one of the many humans who changed and saved my life.

Rest In Peace

Big Love

Dan Newton xo

P.S. Turn this fucking song up loud and rock the fuck out xo

SINGLE REVIEW: “Pentimento” by Foxsmith


Artist: Foxsmith
Song: Pentimento

The brand new song from FOXSMITH is called “Pentimento” and it is a dark hypnotic pop song that creeps along nicely and showcases a deeper side of the band. The hooks are still plentiful but it sounds like WARPAINT’s latest record has really seeped into the dynamics and the overall sonic approach presented with this track. The band also plays a bit of nostalgia hero worship to THE CURE with the emotional yet deadpan delivery of the vocals coming across with a very “Disintegration” era Robert Smith sound.  It is dark enough to be deep but light enough to still be a great pop song that would make the perfect track two on a full length record.

I always hoped that this band would go deeper and darker with their sound and “Pentimento” illustrates a step in the right direction. It would be cool if there was a little more swing in the rhythm section, which would allow for the darkness of the track to bounce towards being communicated perfectly. It feels a little stiff and shuffles too slowly which in turn drags the emotional intelligence of the song down. Considering the music is so beautifully sparse it feels like a more psyche soaked funk disco groove could provide the missing ingredient in terms of ensuring that the audience is hypnotised and fixated on how meaningful and raw the lyrics and vocals are.

Overall this a brilliant song, full of atmosphere and soaked in all of the dynamics that make dark pop music so engaging. I’m looking forward to hearing more from FOXSMITH and I sincerely hope that we get a full length album sometime in the near future.

By: Dan Newton

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SINGLE REVIEW: “My Mayhem” by Mid Ayr


Artist: Mid Ayr
Song: My Mayhem

This is a nice and neat little folk infused pop song with very “now” vocal melody lines and harmonies. This is the kind of music that is in debt to artists like Bon Iver and Paul Simon although judging from the rhythmic groove and production I have a sneaking suspicion that the gentleman behind all of this, Hugh Middleton, may himself be an avid fan of hip hop. It feels sincere but safe and there is definitely room for this kind of music in the world but a whole album and or EP of this may lose me. I’d love to see a horn section at the crescendo of this, really saturate it with some psyched out weirdness to really drive that point home and spook the fucking sonics up a little bit, just to make it a little more nasty. A deep cocaine fuelled funk section, the kind of deep heavy funk that George Clinton is renowned for would really make this song explode. We’ve got plenty of time to hear about your feelings, why not make them feel a bit uncomfortable in the process of expressing your bummers and joys – don’t show them the scar, take a knife and make a brand new wound in front of them, make it fucking raw / roar.

By: Dan Newton

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INTERVIEW: Andrew Stafford – Author of Pig City


I had the pleasure of interviewing one of my heroes recently, Mr Andrew Stafford who is the Author of PIG CITY which is essential reading for anyone who respects Music. In 2014 PIG CITY turns 10 and is being re-released. I’ve been a long time follower of Andrew’s work so it was an interesting insight for me as a writer. I’ve always respected Andrew’s passion for the music he writes about and the accurate way he has managed to describe so many artists that I’ve both loved and hated. To this day I still feel that having Andrew like anything you release as an artist is a badge of honour because he is such a dedicated follower of the arts and is the kind of music writer you can trust because he himself has such a wide vocabulary of tastes.

So here is the interview for you all – be sure to check out all the links and for anyone considering a career in writing or in music, you need to pick up a copy of PIG CITY and get fucking educated.


H&W: Your book “Pig City” traces the development of the Brisbane music scene from the early 70’s to the late 90’s giving a full history of the bands (both mainstream and underground), 4zzz, Punk Rock and of course the political climate across the three decades you cover. What was your first overall introduction to the Brisbane music scene and what was your initial spark to tell so thoroughly the story of Brisbane?

[AS]: Well, my parents moved up to Brisbane from Melbourne at the tail end of 1986, when I was 15, and I was just starting to get into punk (in particular) and all things rock & roll generally at that point. In fact my first great love musically was Midnight Oil, which was about as punk as things got for a teenager in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne at that time! They were a political awakening, as well as a musical one – I think it’s forgotten how important they were, really, especially since Peter Garrett went full time into politics. I saw them live and they took my head off.

In terms of Brisbane, it happened organically; I started going out and seeing bands here simply because that’s where I lived. I subscribed to 4ZZZ in the late 1980s; I went out there during the occupation in 1988, after the UQ Student Union tried to boot them off campus. As I got into punk, I became aware of the Saints, probably from seeing that legendary clip of them playing live at Paddington Town Hall (in Sydney) on Rage. And (I’m) Stranded, of course – that was a Rage staple.

I actually discovered Sydney’s Radio Birdman first – their T-shirts were everywhere in those days – though the Saints ended up having a far bigger impact on me. Of course, I’m talking about the original version of the band, with Ed Kuepper – they were way more raw and primal, and soulful, too, after they introduced the horns. Even so, I can’t remember owning Stranded (the album) until at least 1992, when I got my first CD player. I definitely had the Birdman record on vinyl well before that.

As for the Go-Betweens, they were all a little bit genteel for my tastes early on. I was a bit suspicious of anything that featured non-distorted guitars in those early days! So I never saw them in their classic period, either. I probably didn’t warm to them until around the early 1990s.

The original spark to tell the story came when I saw Savage Garden play the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000. I was just watching on television, of course, but I was gobsmacked and fascinated by it at the same time. I knew that like the Saints, they’d grown up in the boondocks (the Saints in Oxley/Inala; Savage Garden in Logan) and it seemed like a weird kind of circle for Brisbane to have turned. Plus I couldn’t resist the alliteration – From The Saints to Savage Garden! There was a book I really loved at the time about the New York scene called From The Velvets To The Voidoids, by Clinton Heylin – I don’t know if many people picked up how much I stole from him.

Plus and most importantly there was the whole political element of living in Queensland. It was only a few weeks after I arrived that the journalist Phil Dickie started writing the first of his reports in the Courier-Mail that led to the Fitzgerald Inquiry, which triggered Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s downfall. That was really formative stuff. Queensland was such an extreme place back then that it had the effect of instantly radicalising otherwise quite normal people.

H&W: Leading into writing of “Pig City” what was your experience with the Brisbane Music Scene and at what point did you start documenting it via your writing?

[AS]: Apart from just being a barfly who (in those days) didn’t actually drink, I got my writer’s training wheels as a staff writer for the street paper, Time Off, from early 1994 to late 1996, filling in as editor a few times when required. It was a good time to be there, because the Brisbane scene was exploding then; all the obvious bands you can think of (Powderfinger, Custard et al) were all coming through, but there were dozens of others – some of whom had more going for them, in my opinion, than the bands that “made it”. It was an incredible time to be in Brisbane, too, although it would be unrecognisable today. I moved to Sydney for a few years after that, and came back at the beginning of the year 2000. Personally I wasn’t in great shape by that point – I had no job and a lot of time on my hands, for all the wrong reasons. I needed a reason to be back in Brisbane, so I found one.

H&W: I want to focus on “The Saints” for a moment – after reading “Pig City” it is easy to tell that you are quite an avid fan of the band. A lot of the material contained in “Pig City” about “The Saints” is well researched and gives an incredible glimpse into the history of the band. How important were “The Saints” to not only you the Author but to the Brisbane Music Scene as a whole?

[AS]: I’ve answered that in terms of my own experience above. As far as Brisbane goes, it would be impossible to overstate their influence or importance. Sure, there were bands in Brisbane before that, and good ones too, but the Saints were the catalyst for pretty much everything that came afterwards. An entire scene formed in their absence after they left for England in 1977. With apologies to Railroad Gin, things were pretty dreary in Brisbane before that! Even though they didn’t call themselves a punk band, the fact was punk was such an important fulcrum for Brisbane in a volatile climate, and the Saints were at the forefront of that. Speaking of which, internationally their importance is only occasionally recognised to the extent it should be: they were doing their thing before any of the English bands, and better than most of them, too. Basically they just took Brisbane by the scruff of the neck and shook the life out of it. Not that many people noticed at the time – they were the proverbial pebble in the pond, but the ripples didn’t take long to start spreading.

H&W: Talk us through your research for the book – was it a hard process in working who and what to include considering the vast amount of music produced by Brisbane?

[AS]: It didn’t seem that difficult at the time! I had a good idea of which bands I thought should be included and they seemed obvious enough. The thing is, there just weren’t that many groups that had really broken to a wider audience outside of Brisbane, and I didn’t want to write a parochial account that would only be of interest to people who lived here and had lived through it. That said, there were some legendary people whom hardly anyone even inside Brisbane had heard of that I wanted to include – Pineapples From The Dawn of Time, the Leftovers, the Parameters. Most people who never listened to Triple Zed have no idea where the title “Pig City” even comes from. Later on, of course, I got a lot of heat from people who were upset that I hadn’t included them, and complained that I wasn’t here and hadn’t lived through that time, etc, etc – which was true; at least up until the late 1980s.

My defence was always that I wasn’t trying to write an encyclopaedia of Brisbane music; that was never the point. It was supposed to be a book about Brisbane, and that’s quite different. Actually, what was difficult was tracking down all those Triple Zed employees for their recollections – but, this being Brisbane, there weren’t too many degrees of separation between them all, once I found the first few!

H&W: Are there artists and various people that you were unable to interview or who didn’t feel comfortable in participating in the project?

[AS]: Daniel Jones from Savage Garden was the only one I can remember actually flat out refusing. He just had no interest in it whatsoever. Everyone else was keen to talk, especially when I explained what the angle was. A lot of people who lived through the Bjelke-Petersen era still wear it like a badge of honour.

H&W: Did you find a common mood or creative state of mind exclusive to Brisbane linked in with all of the bands and artists you interviewed or do you think that the only common connector was the geography of it all?

[AS]: I don’t think geography had much to do with it at all actually, at least not if you mean the physical landscape. I reject utterly that there was ever a “Brisbane sound”, although there are a few who like to claim there was. At bottom I was trying to answer a question; to what degree did growing up in Queensland, and Bjelke-Petersen especially, influence the output of its writers, artists and musicians? The people I spoke to were more or less united in their opposition, but their responses to him varied enormously. These things are never as simple as people make out.

H&W: What was your relationship with the more mainstream artists like Savage Garden and Powderfinger, were you a fan of them or were they merely used as an example of just how successful Brisbane had become at producing some of the most important music in our cultural lexicon?

[AS]: The fact that they had become successful didn’t interest me particularly, although it did provide the book with something of a narrative arc. Their success was partly a by-product of the fact that their music was less insular and more outward-looking than almost everything that had come before it, and that told you a lot more about how far Brisbane had come, in my view. I admired both bands without especially being a fan. Powderfinger’s early records aren’t great and they’re the first to admit it, which is something I respect about them. They really nailed what they were about with Odyssey Number Five; that’s a good album. So is Vulture Street. They both get a spin in my house occasionally.

H&W: I guess focussing on those bands – Powderfinger and Savage Garden – for a moment, do you think their success and the launching pad for Brisbane as a cultural hit of sunshine is the end result of the hard work done by all of those lesser known underground bands of the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s who really pushed through the political intensity in order to pave the way for the modern music scene as we know it?

[AS]: Yes and no. Both were a case of right band, right songs, right time – as is the case for most successful outfits, but that’s not to downplay the incredible amount of hard work that went into their success. Powderfinger built on what came before them at least to some degree. They had to have an Orient Hotel to play at, just for starters. Savage Garden didn’t; they were pretty much a recording project that went straight to stadium stages, so they had no need for a local scene to nurture them. If they had played those smaller stages, they probably would have been bottled off! They owed more to George Michael and Michael Jackson than anything that had happened in Brisbane, and that’s not a criticism at all; that’s just who they were, and their music was a truthful expression of that. I can never understand why people bag them – they were as honest as the Saints, in their own way. Whether you happen to like their music or not in the end is a matter of taste and beside the point. People occasionally complain that they shouldn’t have been included in Pig City at all, but I was trying to write a history, not re-write it.

H&W: This year is the 10th anniversary of “Pig City” – what do you have planned in terms of a re-issue?

[AS]: Not much, in terms of actual content. There’s a new introduction that tries to put the book in context now that Campbell Newman is the state premier. Readers coming to the book for the first time will hear echoes of the past in the present; history sadly has a way of repeating itself. It’s definitely aimed at a new and younger audience. Other than that I’ve pretty much let it be. It’s not updated – the book was only ever meant to be a snapshot of a particular time; it’s not a rolling chronicle. Talking about all the new bands would be almost another book entirely, and I didn’t want to do that. One change I did make was to take out the discography at the back of the original edition, which was kind of a shame, but it had become obsolete in the age of Google, iTunes, eBay, etc.

H&W: In the past ten years since the release of “Pig City” how have you felt about the current scene of young musicians and bands? Do you think that there is substance amongst the modern scene and what do you think the Digital age has done to the Brisbane music community?

[AS]: I think it’s amazing; it’s better now than it ever was. The Saints and the Go-Betweens aside, most of my favourite Brisbane bands live in the present – HITS, Blank Realm, Some Jerks, Lords of Wong, Seja Vogel, Carrie and the Cut Snakes, Kellie Lloyd; every single one of them have or has made really cool records in the last couple of years. And I hope no one (especially my wife!) feels overlooked by my singling those people out. I think there’s more talent here now than at any time since the punk era, across a wider range of genres. People take a lot more chances, because they’re not answerable to anyone at the end of the day. For both better and worse, it’s actually more DIY than it ever was, because (a) record companies aren’t investing in young talent the way they used to, and (b) recording technology is so much cheaper these days, and people know how to use it properly. You can actually make a really good sounding album now for a few thousand dollars. The downside of course was ever thus: it’s all but impossible to make a living out of it. When I say it’s more DIY than ever, I mean bands have to do EVERYTHING. Most bands fall over at one or more hurdles.

I do think HITS and Blank Realm are both absolutely astounding. Both have made phenomenal albums this year. I’m happy to single them both out for special praise and anyone that is aware of my gig-going habits around town knows that. If I was lucky enough to live in New York City in the 70s I would go and see the Ramones every single fucking chance I could, too. I’m just happy to be in Brisbane as long as they’re around; we’re spoilt to have the two best bands in the country (in my opinion) on our doorstep. They are fabulous live bands; their records will last forever and happily they are all extremely nice people, too, so I know none of my babbling will affect them one iota.

H&W: As a writer in 2014, what kind of struggles do you face to keep up with the pace of technology and do you feel that the internet has helped or hindered the accurate documentation of history?

[AS]: Wow, you saved the toughest question until last there. I’m a bit of a Luddite I guess. I adopted Twitter a while ago, that’s pretty indispensable for a journalist, but I’ve only been on Facebook for a bit over a year. I hated the whole idea of it for a long time, but eventually I realised people weren’t going to stop using it just because I didn’t happen to approve. I didn’t get a so-called smart phone until well after they first appeared, either. It’s held me back in some ways compared to younger writers coming through. Overall, I’d describe myself as a late but enthusiastic bandwagon-jumper.

As for documenting history, the answer is both. The speed of it pretty obviously comes at the expense of both intellectual rigour and accuracy. On the other hand, it’s more accessible to a wider audience than it ever was. People are both more and less informed at the same time. Unfortunately they have a tendency to believe everything they read, and usually think they’re smarter than they actually are, too; probably myself included.




Interview Conducted By: Dan Newton

Andrew Stafford photo taken by Richard Waugh –

On Saturday 9th August 2014 Andrew will be speaking at the Brisbane Powerhouse in relation to the 10th Anniversary of PIG CITY – you can check out the following link for more details



I’ve attempted to write this review for the past few months but after seeing so many other fine humans say better and more poignant things about the second album from HITS – which is called “HIKIKOMORI” – I started to wonder what was left to say. The problem is there is a lot left to say but what I want to express is hard to document in mere paragraphs because I’ll either overcomplicate it or get tangled in my typical verbose mumblings so I’ve opted to keep it simple.

It needs to be said – and I’m joining the fucking choir on this one – that HITS have made the best rock n roll record of 2014. The joy I feel when I’m listening to this record at full volume is a beautiful kind of catharsis. The fury of it all infects your atmosphere and you erupt into a pure state of being as a result. There is so much cool dripping from this record, the kind of cool that I’ve attempted to reach as a human being and it is the same cool that attracted me to punk rock in the first place. That desire to somehow mimic the soul and the swagger of it all and to accurately express all that is painful with existence through wit and inebriated rage looms large on every track of this album. Each song truly nestles into the power of saying “fuck you” and “fuck the rules” without the need for clichéd fashion statements. I’ve never had the hips for that kind of swagger but I’ve made a career out of collecting that kind of cool and storing it in my soul so that I can at least talk about the passion I feel for artists who communicate all that is right about rock n roll and HITS are master communicators of the rock n roll language.

When I listen to “HIKIKOMORI” I want to be as cool and effective as Stacey and Tamara, the way they kick out the fucking jams remains to be a lesson in what it takes to be a rock n roll star. I’m a biased fool with this band based on my love of the roar that erupts from the guitar playing of these two humans who so accurately shred with passion and rage.

Here I am though doing what I promised to avoid, getting tangled in my mumblings – so I’ll race to the finish line and leave you with this conclusion. The world is full of manicured ideas and soulless empty calories but when you listen to HITS you’re reminded that for every bad example of rock n roll there are those who get it right and who manage to restore your faith in loud guitars and punk rock once again. The world needs more bands like HITS because they are the ultimate tour de force and have the ability to rock the fuck out and in the process they will help restore peace to the galaxy.

God bless the fucking lot of them

10 Trillion Cassette Tapes out of 10

By: Dan Newton

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ALBUM REVIEW: “The Beauty Of Destruction” by Devil You Know


The debut album from DEVIL YOU KNOW is a fantastic display of how powerful, melodic, intelligent and emotional modern metal can be. The album is aptly titled “The Beauty Of Destruction” and is an incredibly dark journey through the tortured and complicated mind of Vocalist Howard Jones who soundtracks these rather technical metal landscapes with his unique and rather dynamic vocal performance. The music side of things was composed and conceived by the legendary John Sankey (Drums) and Francesco Artusato (guitar) who prove that after years of dominating the heavy metal underground they are ready to crossover in a big way.

Already known for his work as lead vocalist with Killswitch Engage and Blood Has Been Shed, “The Beauty Of Destruction” has Howard Jones sounding refreshed and delivering a career defining performance. The instrumental side of things on this album and the technicality and riffage are flawless from a composition standpoint but it really is the vocals that create the unique flavour for DEVIL YOU KNOW and in the process helps to separate them from other modern metal bands. The way Howard can rush from a whisper to a scream and then to a delicate croon followed by a tortured aggressive howl is more impressive and more confident on this album than his previous work with Killswitch Engage. It is to the point where he almost sounds more comfortable and more challenged by the material he was presented by Sankey and Artusato which is a sign that DEVIL YOU KNOW has the potential to grow and evolve certain aesthetics showcased across this album.

There is a real side one / side two feel to this record and it is best consumed as one whole piece. Individual songs can give you a glimpse of what to expect but out of context they don’t relay the whole emotional journey that “The Beauty of Destruction” presents. The album has many highlights but the song I continually put forth as my favourite is the second track “My Own” which blends the aggression, darkness and divine melodies of DEVIL YOU KNOW perfectly. As mentioned though, this only tells part of the story because the band uses so many of the established metal aesthetics with the kind of intelligence that comes from humans who see the success of a good metal song being not just its ability to be heavy and technical but also its ability to be catchy, groovy and downright infectious. The fact that the band manages this but makes things so dark and twisted really is the crowning achievement of this debut movement of songs. The production of Logan Mader really deserves mentioning because he has managed to keep things raw whilst still providing a gloss that makes for maximum high definition enjoyment.

Any seasoned appreciator of heavy metal will no doubt find extreme pleasure with DEVIL YOU KNOW who prove that sometimes the most revolutionary step forward for the genre is great songwriting. I know this record ultimately marries the sounds its creators are renowned for but it is the confidence and the sincerity of it that makes it a refreshing and exciting listen. It has an infectious ability to haunt you long after you’ve listened to it and sets up DEVIL YOU KNOW for a very fruitful and successful career of melodic metal.

By: Dan Newton

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ALBUM REVIEW: “The Double EP: A Sea Of Split Peas” by Courtney Barnett


The music of Courtney Barnett is the sound I’ve been waiting for my whole life and it’s taken me the last 12 months of my life to try and find the time to sit down to express as to why. In that 12 months Courtney has managed to do two things, combine both her EPs into one full length release titled “The Double EP: A Sea Of Split Peas” and also become a worldwide musical sensation. I’m somewhat overwhelmed at how important her music has become to the world because in that same twelve months her music has soundtracked my own little universe and given me reason to feel excited about the future of music. Although I sat and read about her rise to fame and watched her recent US and UK performances via YouTube (including her appearance on Jimmy Fallon) it still didn’t register that it was the same artist I was listening to. I almost felt like she was still my little secret but after having another little YouTube journey watching her most recent performances it finally hit me that the Courtney Barnett revolution is finally upon us.

I’m not quite sure what revolution looks or feels like in the digital age but I know that Courtney Barnett is carrying with her the same degree of excitement that Kurt Cobain did back in 1991 and I think this time around the world is a little more prepared for the cultural re-structure that will follow once she finally releases her proper Debut album later this year. I know most reviews focus on the whole Bob Dylan reference point and all of the lo-fi goodness that artists like Kim Deal had / has but to my ears the music Courtney makes is way more special than that. I’d be confident comparing her to Lennon / McCartney and as I said above, Kurt Cobain. Her music carries that same kind of special energy that balances creative exploration and solid pop song dynamics. A song like “Avant-Gardener” is a fine example of this and for the life of me, after studying it closely, I’m still unable to pinpoint what spooky circumstances make the song haunt me. Whenever I’m in the vicinity of this song I have to just stop what I’m doing and immerse myself in it until I’ve consumed it in full. I am yet to grow tired of it and like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” I believe it is one of those one in a million “Voice Of A Generation” songs that change the way people think and feel whilst also connecting deeply to the pain and angst we all feel in this modern context of life. This does not make “Avant-Gardener” exclusive to now, it is a timeless masterpiece of pop music that will live on and become one of the most influential songs of all time.

This is just one of the many fine examples of Courtney’s creative dialogue and all across this release we see an artist map out the early roots of her unique interpretation of rock n roll. The real power of Courtney’s music lays in the way she mixes her pain and vulnerability with her humour and incredible wit. These songs are real stories that humans can relate to that remind you of the clumsiness of growing up in a confused state of being and the places you are taken in your quest for self-discovery. The world is so starved of honesty these days and have been fed a steady diet of Bullshit for the better part of ten years. The art scenes all across the world have become an incredibly insincere plain of existence so when an artist as stark and as raw and as honest as Courtney Barnett appears on the radar people have no choice but to be hypnotised by the music communicated. It is that honesty that has connected the world outside of Australia to Courtney’s music and it will be both a blessing and a curse because the originality of her sound will no doubt become part of the curriculum for humans with less self-awareness but a better understanding on the quick fix of being a mimic. I guess that’s my smart way of saying that people will think the key to success is ripping her off instead of taking the real lesson of doing your own thing and be honest about the art you create.

I know that the world is in a different place and that a 1991 musical revolution looks different to a 2014 musical revolution. Most of the people reading this will probably stupidly take me literally when I say that Courtney has the power to be to modern youth what Kurt Cobain was to people 23 years ago. I’m not being literal with that, I’m simply saying that Courtney has her own unique pop music language that will change the cultural lexicon and influence the aesthetics of how music is communicated. There will be young humans who start bands as result of her influence and this is the positive part of becoming so popular. This isn’t some manufactured version of reality, it is real and Courtney has the power to make some big waves in the old fashioned way, with music and music only. That is why her sound and presence in the world is so refreshing because for the first time in a very long time I believe it.

In 2014 I promised I wouldn’t hand out scores to albums or music that I review, but in the case of Courtney Barnett I have to say that this album is a perfect 10/10 release. I listen to music because it provides pain relief an gives me the perfect vehicle for escapism and for the last 12 months Courtney Barnett has been one of the artists who have soundtracked these journeys.

We as fans can only rejoice that the rest of the world are now also understanding what is so powerful about Courtney Barnett’s music and I suggest that all serious music fans invest now because this music is on the same kind of revolutionary level as “Horses” by Patti Smith. Fuck, I know I keep saying ridiculous things like this but it is the only way for me to express just how special Courtney Barnett is.

10 / 10

By: Dan Newton

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